Rangers have now officially confirmed what Ibrox Noise explained some days ago, that the Director of Football role has been permanently axed at the club and the appointment of Nils Koppen is in a different position, more ‘niche’ as John Bennett described it.
The appointment of the Dutchman saw reactions of ‘finally’ from fans when the words ‘Director of Football’ were seen along with ‘appointed’, but as Ibrox Noise examined, it wasn’t and isn’t a replacement for Ross Wilson.
When a question from Bar 72 at the AGM asked why it took so long to ‘replace’ Ross Wilson, chairman Bennett said:
“We split the role. We now need to get recruitment systematically right, every time. We interviewed Sporting Directors but have decided that’s not the road we want to go down so the recruitment process became more niche.”
So it is official – Rangers did exactly what Ibrox Noise has been campaigning for for years – dumped the Sporting Director role and have now created the new Director of Football Recruiment in Koppen.
What do we think happened here?
Honestly? We believe Paul Mitchell rejected the job, and we know Dimitri De Conde did, not to mention Sam Jewell and David Weir, and Rangers decided with the January window looming large that it would serve better to ditch the rabbit hole of finding the right man, and instead changed the job.
We’ve never liked Sporting Directors – they just interfere with the manager – Ross Wilson absolutely did with Gerrard, Giovanni then Beale, and Mark Allen before him sure did with Gerrard.
So we were against a SD from the moment the idea was uttered by Dave King in 2015. But were WERE willing to accept one if Philippe Clement wanted one, such was the trust we had in his judgement.
But either candidates rejected the job or there’s been a simple change in approach, where Clement will be the main man for football, tactics, coaching and man-management, and Koppen will be the main man for recruitment.
Meanwhile new Head of Performance Tom Taylor (who we’ve not mentioned yet) will be in charge of fitness and injuries and ironically comes from Brighton, where Rangers failed to get David Weir or Sam Jewell from as SD.
So all in all, the Sporting Director nonsense is done, and the role is now literally split between Clement, Koppen and Taylor.
We believe this is a much better system, not that we’re 100% sold on Koppen’s legitimacy yet!